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Why I’m Unreasonably Excited for Volunteer Weekend (And Why You Should Be Too!)

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As GRP’s annual Volunteer Weekend approaches (how is it that spring is just around the corner already?!), I find myself reminiscing about my visit to the Preserve for the event last year. I originally signed up for Volunteer Weekend because I missed GRP and loved the idea of having some small hand in readying camp for its summertime magic. It made me smile to think about dusting the mattresses in the cabins so campers could pass giggly notes during rest hour, lining up the tables in the lodge for post-dinner table-banging and Ortman Theater, organizing the craft lodge for the making of rainy-day friendship bracelets that would be kept long after they were tattered and worn.

Volunteer Weekend definitely delivered on those sentimental musings, but what always surprises me about visiting camp as an adult is that my happiness in being there isn’t primarily driven by nostalgia. Visiting GRP brings back some of my sweetest childhood memories, yes, but something about making new memories and just being there again also gives me such a feeling of happiness, peace, and clarity. It’s a much-needed escape from the city and the day-to-day grind and always has a way of reminding me of the important things in this world.

Prior to the 30th Anniversary Celebration in 2017, it had been over seven years since I’d been back to Green River Preserve. Between that visit and last year’s Volunteer Weekend, I can’t begin to express how thankful I am to have reconnected with GRP. Being there has felt so effortless and natural that I honestly can’t imagine going so long without visiting again. So, whether it’s been one year or 20 since you’ve been to GRP, I encourage anyone who has been touched by this special place to take this Volunteer Weekend opportunity to reconnect with and give back to the Preserve. I can speak from experience in saying that you’ll get out of it just as much as you put into it!

With that, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite memories from last year’s Volunteer Weekend:

  • Looking for shooting stars from the Lower Council Fire with old friends
  • Finding a sugar glider family in one of the Boysville cabins
  • Singing camp songs and sharing old camp memories around the fire in the gazebo
  • Browsing through a photo album that one of my long-lost camp friends brought from his camp days. He was in my brother cabin for three or four years, and it really felt like no time had passed (even though I hadn’t spoken to him since camp!). The photos in that album were absolute gems!

Story by Breea Sharma with Photos by Samantha J. Keebler & Brandon S. Marshall